Curse of the Starving Class
Closed 2h 30m
Curse of the Starving Class
77

Curse of the Starving Class NYC Reviews and Tickets

77%
(183 Ratings)
Positive
83%
Mixed
13%
Negative
4%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Thought-provoking

About the Show

Last produced in NYC by Signature more than 20 years ago, this new production of "Curse of the Starving Class" honors Pulitzer Prize-winning Legacy Playwright Sam Shepard, who passed away in 2017. 

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Show-Score Member Reviews (183)

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203 Reviews | 49 Followers
94
Riveting, Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Edgy

See it if you want to see an edgy, surrealistic drama that challenges convention, in an intimate setting and affordable price

Don't see it if you don't like to see plays that are pretty darn negative, or you want a feel-good night at the theater. This is challenging! Read more

232 Reviews | 20 Followers
92
Great staging, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy plays about family issues and how they are resolved or not

Don't see it if You like musicals and comedies

53 Reviews | 3 Followers
91
Resonant, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Masterful, Absorbing

See it if You like being challenged in the theater while seeing great acting performances

Don't see it if You don't like serious dramas

90 Reviews | 37 Followers
90
Riveting, Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you are drawn to stories of intense family dysfunction presented at the brink of total dissolution.

Don't see it if Sam's Shepard's style of slow-burn, edgy, extreme writing isn't your thing.

142 Reviews | 20 Followers
90
Relevant, Intense, Great acting, Edgy

See it if you want intense, essential Sam Shepherd middle-America family drama (1977) that is disturbingly relevant, with surreal moments of shock

Don't see it if dark & disturbing, relentless, long, threat-of-violence play that has aged into a parable, "the more things change..." brings you down Read more

110 Reviews | 21 Followers
90
Thought-provoking, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a seldom done Sam Shepherd play exquisitely acted and directed and an amazing set

Don't see it if understanding everything is important

181 Reviews | 33 Followers
89
Intense, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you are a fan of Sam Shepard in all his dysfunctional uncomfortable glory.

Don't see it if you are looking for a good time.

MJK
677 Reviews | 193 Followers
89
Great staging, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing, Bleak

See it if you want to see an unrelenting, 1st-rate revival of a work from Shepard's most fertile period that's as gritty, moving & timely as ever.

Don't see it if u seek pure escapism; u don't have the stomach for the relentless dysfunction of this family & the situation they represent in our society.

Critic Reviews (27)

The New York Times
May 13th, 2019

"Watching the very entertaining first half of Mr. Kinney’s interpretation of 'Curse,' I wondered why it doesn’t come around more often. I had stopped wondering by the end. 'Curse' features some beautiful, signature Shepard writing, in which primal desperation becomes fervid poetry...The plot, though, seems to thicken like clotting blood...We aren’t as rattled as we should be by the play’s more violent and congested second half."
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Time Out New York
May 15th, 2019

“Kinney and his cast find memorable moments in Shepard’s darkly satirical play...Time has diminished some...shock value and the Signature’s production doesn’t dig deeply enough into the feeling the play seems to be after: It doesn’t pulse with the agony of stunted existence. But Shepard’s potent writing, with its raw pain and rich symbolism, still resonates. Its depiction of a white rural family worried about losing its homestead...seems very much in step with the national mood.”
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New York Magazine / Vulture
May 13th, 2019

"It should heave and churn with bitter discontent and sloppy ambition, delusion and shame. But it’s a tough, flawed nut, and it’s not profiting from Signature Theatre’s current revival, which mostly plays the unwieldy material straight down the middle. As a result, the play feels diffuse and almost plodding in its long first act, and the lurid transformations and deadly outbursts of its second act are consequently dulled."
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The Hollywood Reporter
May 13th, 2019

"Shepard's plays are tricky balancing acts. They need to be staged by directors and actors in touch with the late playwright's distinctive, off-kilter vision. That's certainly the case with this production...Kinney could have picked up the pace faster, and the decision to condense the first two acts results in an overly long, 90-minute first half. Nonetheless, the work's raw power and bleak humor resonate strongly, thanks to the ensemble's fully invested performances."
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The Observer
May 13th, 2019

"May be overlong and lopsided, but still throws off sparks of that crazy Shepard vibe...Kinney’s staging is tight and propulsive, and he guides the actors to unlocking pure moments of animal magnetism...For the long (90-minute) first part of this production, Shepard’s black humor and the hard-working cast keep the gritty nonsense humming. It’s the final 40 minutes after intermission where things go truly bonkers and, sadly, dull."
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Theatermania
May 13th, 2019

“The richness of the stagecraft in...Kinney's production feels obscene when one considers the story...These expensive-looking alterations are to the detriment of the script...This play about poor people shouldn't feel like it was art directed for Vogue. The performances vary...’Curse of the Starving Class’ is still brutally perceptive in its dreamlike depiction of American society, but it's hard to see that through the self-defeating opulence of this revival.”
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BroadwayWorld
May 14th, 2019

“Latecomers to...Kinney’s finely-acted revival of Shepherd’s dysfunctional family drama will miss the show stopping bit of stagecraft that opens the production...This symbolic visual that serves as the background for the entire piece seems to reinforce the verbal symbolism in the playwright's text....’Curse’ won Shepard an Obie and...helped establish the playwright as a unique voice that used dark humor to dissemble the traditionally romantic view of America's rural landscape.”
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Lighting & Sound America
May 28th, 2019

"The passage of time, aided by Kinney's lovingly detailed production, casts it in a different light; today, it seems an uncanny depiction of gnawing dissatisfaction in the American heartland...The characters' reckless, self-sabotaging pursuit of wealth and escape leads only to ruin...Kinney's cast is exceptionally adept at serving up this buffet of bad behavior, especially when it comes to switching emotional states, and tactics, on a dime.”
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